Co-ops to build more community solar projects

scottcountysolarplant copyIllinois Rural Electric Cooperative, Winchester, was the first in the state to build a 500 kilowatt ­community solar facility. Following that ­project Jo-Carroll Energy, Elizabeth, announced the completion of a ­community solar project of 456 solar panels, each with a capacity of 275 watts. In March, Prairie Power, Inc. announced plans for two 500 kilowatt community solar projects, one to be built at Shelby Electric Cooperative and the other at Spoon River Electric Cooperative.

Our consumers own us,” said Prairie Power’s President and CEO Jay Bartlett. “These consumer ­members are best served by us ­having a diverse electricity resource ­supply portfolio. Our consumer ­members have expressed an ­interest in ­renewable resources such as wind and solar ­generation. We are working to fulfill their desire.”

Prairie Power, Inc. is the ­supplier of bulk electricity supply and electric highline transmission services to 10 member-owned electric ­distribution cooperatives in ­central Illinois. Prairie Power, Inc., along with Southern Illinois Power Cooperative and Wabash Valley Power Cooperative, already own wind generation at a facility located just east of Paxton, Ill.

Construction will conclude later this summer. After that all of the nearly 80,000 consumer members of the 10 Prairie Power, Inc. member cooperatives will be able to sign up to purchase electricity directly from these solar ­projects. There will also be a website where anyone can go to see how much electricity these solar and wind generation ­projects are ­producing. Visit the Prairie Power, Inc. website at

In addition to Shelby Electric Cooperative and Spoon River Electric Cooperative, Prairie Power, Inc. ­provides wholesale elec­tricity to Adams Electric Cooperative, Camp Point; Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative, Mattoon; Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, Paxton; Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative, Winchester; Jo-Carroll Energy, Elizabeth; McDonough Power Cooperative, Macomb; Menard Electric Cooperative, Petersburg; and Western Illinois Electrical Coop., Carthage.